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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 294 > STREETS OF SHAME

STREETS OF SHAME

IT’S EASY TO BELIEVE THAT PREJUDICE AGAINST THE LGBT+ COMMUNITY IS DYING OUT IN THE UK BUT NEARLY A QUARTER OF YOUNG HOMELESS PEOPLE IDENTIFY AS QUEER AND THE MAJORITY OF THEM SAY THEY HAD TO LEAVE HOME BECAUSE OF THEIR SEXUALITY OR GENDER IDENTITY. MATT CAIN INVESTIGATES
PHOTOGRAPHY: MARKUS BIDAUX

HOMELESSNESS

What if they kick me out? It’s the greatest fear of many LGBT+ people as they prepare to come out to their parents — and many of us have imagined how we’d cope if that fear became reality. But for many people living in the UK, being thrown out of their family home because of their sexuality or gender identity is a reality they are having to live with.

“My parents didn’t like it and they told me to get out,” says Keerthy Sivakumar, a 22-year-old trans woman from Greenwich in South East London. “I couldn’t pack my clothes or anything, I had to leave with what I had. I was at least expecting them to give me some time before I had to go but they kicked me out straightaway.”

Keerthy is recalling what happened last July when she came out as transgender to her parents. They told her that, because they are of Sri Lankan heritage and practising Hindus, her gender identity wasn’t compatible with their culture or religion. Keerthy had feared she’d be told to leave home, so she’d already researched places she could go for help. But the immediacy of her ejection meant she had to spend a few weeks on the streets before she found her way to a youth centre in central London’s Old Street.

SHELTER: The Outside Project provides a safe space, with 12 bunks, inside an old tour bus
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About Attitude

James Corden on the importance of being an LGBT+ ally. Plus, Celebrity Big Brother and Drag Race star Courtney Act, Queer Eye's Karamo Brown, and the shocking truth about LGBT homelessness.
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